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  • Ukrenergo Review 2 – 7 March

    This week we learned a bit about things like investing in the motor industry and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Crete.

    A new issue of Ukrenergo Review will tell you about how German car manufacturers are investing €58 billion in electric and self-driving cars, plans for Crete to fully eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, completion of creating “the artificial sun” in China, and other happenings in the energy worldwide. This week, in particular, it’s bridging the gap in demand for energy from autonomous micro-grids, so the global battery capacity reached 15GW.

     

    1.Autonomous micro-grids can bridge the gap in energy demand

    Autonomous micro-grids are becoming an increasingly attractive business opportunity for investors and, at the same time, may reduce the gap in energy demand, according to Power Technology. According to the report “Strategic Investments in Autonomous Microwaves” by analytical firm Wood Mackenzie, due to global population growth, over 600 million people will gain access to electricity by 2030. Therefore, the report argues, ensuring universal access to the resource will require about $52 billion in annual investments in the sector. However, today only 1.3% of this amount is invested in the development of autonomous micro-grids. Despite such a low percentage, analysts are pointing at a gradual increase in investment in the sector. Last year, for instance, the company invested $511.5 million, 22% more compared to 2017.

    Market participants, such as oil and gas companies and generating companies, as well as leading companies in technology and telecommunication, are actively increasing their investments in the solar micro-grid segment. This market is particularly attractive to generating companies, as they have the opportunity to expand their activities by providing additional services such as the Internet access, financial products and water supply.

    The greater portion of investment falls goes to the African continent (in particular, East Africa), which accounted for 79% of total investment since 2010. The Asia-Pacific region is second with 15%, followed by Latin America (6%).

    2.German carmakers to invest €58 billion in e-mobility, self-driving cars

    German carmakers are planning a major investment in electric vehicles.  German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).  announced  ahead of the Geneva International Motor Show. According to VDA president Bernhard Mattes, the era of e-mobility is dawning in Europe. And much of that increase must take place in Germany. 

    “We will invest more than 40 billion euros in electric mobility in the next three years, plus a further 18 billion euros in digitization, networked and automated driving,” Mattes said in the statement. He added that a major increase in electric vehicles is the only way to meet the EU’s 2030 climate targets. That will require investments from both carmakers and governments, including a rapid expansion of charging infrastructure, incentives for buyers, and a nationwide 5G mobile network.

    Meanwhile, Germany is falling behind Japanese and Korean carmakers when it comes to powering cars with hydrogen fuel cells, Die Welt reports.

    3.Crete to became zero-emission island in 2030

    Crete has identified key actions to achieve zero emissions This will involve boosting the use of renewables and electric cars, optimising its water resources and recycling waste.

    The priorities emerged from the meeting under the Greening the Islands Observatory, a global initiative aiming to engage islands in innovations in energy, environment and infrastructure. Crete is joining other frontrunner islands on sustainability, Hawaii in the Pacific and Spain’s Balearic Islands, according to PV Magazine.

    According to officials, a circular economy should become priority number one on Crete’s agenda. In the energy sector, the island will work on implementing storage systems to support the increase of renewables.  Energy efficiency solutions will be improved for hotels, buildings and street lights  and information campaign planned to increase the acceptance of renewables in Crete. Renewable energy plants currently cover an annual share of 20-24% energy in the island. Crete is an isolated energy system and all its consumption is produced locally.

    In terms of water, the island will develop a strategy for drought protection will be developed, potentially including innovative desalination plants.

    On mobility, Crete is looking into electrifying ports and vessels with charging infrastructure and a policy to promote use of electric vehicles.  Crete wants also examine the possibility to develop a V2G (Vehicle to Grid) pilot.

    As for waste, biogas plants for organic waste and domestic composting for remote areas will be installed and the opportunity of organic sludge treatment and reuse for agriculture analyzed. For each sector a thematic online forum in the Greening the Islands web-app will be created, where all technical documents of the meeting will be published. Thus all Crete residents will be able to follow the debate and send comments.

    4.Global battery storage pipeline reaches 15 GW

    2018 have been a record-breaking year for battery energy storage, writes PV Magazine, quoting IHS Markit senior analyst Julian Jansen. Especially for front-of-the-meter projects, where the growth was led by significant activity in South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and China. Together these countries accounted for 78% of battery energy storage projects commissioned in 2018.

    The overall stationary battery energy storage market has had a strong year of development.  Last year saw 83% more completed projects than in 2017. The project pipeline for battery energy storage reached 15.2 GW at the start of 2019. Another sign of the development of the sector is the wider use of rechargeable batteries in combination with RES generation and an increase in the number of units at the household level. NEC Energy Solutions, Nidec, and Tesla Energy were the leading energy storage system integrators in 2018. 

    Positive outlook stems from the regulatory environment in numerous states. South Australia offers generous energy storage subsidies.  Regional governments in other states also encourage uptake of residential solar and storage, as well as the advancement of aggregated systems into virtual power plants (VPPs). The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order, which aims to remove key regulatory barriers for electrical energy storage and aims to create a level playing field for storage to access new revenue streams (e.g. wholesale markets).

    Experts are predicting greater geographic diversity, a more global supplier base advancing the industry.

    5.China to complete artificial sun device

    China plans to complete the construction of the artificial sun this year, achieving an ion temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius, according to Economic Times.  The HL-2M Tokamak device is designed to replicate the nuclear fusion process. The collision of two hydrogen nuclei creates a huge emission of energy. This process occurs naturally in the sun and stars, producing light and heat.  As a result, HL-2M Tokamak is supposed to provide almost infinite clean energy through controlled nuclear fusion.  

    Achieving an ion temperature above 100 million degrees Celsius is one of the three challenges to reach the goal of harnessing the nuclear fusion. The other two challenges are containing the fusion within a limited space in the long term, and providing a sufficiently high density profile.

    In previous experiments the scientists have already achieved an electron temperature of over 100 million degrees Celsius, and an ion temperature of 50 million degrees Celsius. According to the scientists, it is the ion that generates energy in the device.

    The core of the sun is widely believed to be 15 million degree Celsius, meaning that the ion at the device’s core will be seven times higher than that of the Sun, an official of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) stated.

    To bring up the ion temperature to over 100 million degree Celsius, the scientists will need higher device parameters (than the existing one), allowing to absorb more energy, and operate with a more advanced working mode. Scientists are hoping that the new HL-2M device will possess such capabilities, and will allow more efficiently conversion of released in the thermonuclear reaction energy into electricity. This achievement will provide a main technical support for China’s participation in the operation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The ITER is a large international scientific project that is a global collaboration of 35 countries, including China, Russia and the US.

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